Statement by Foreign Minister Baerbock at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting - Session II “Global Governance Reform”

26.02.2024 - Speech



G20 Chair, Mauro,

Thank you for putting Global Governance Reform at the heart of our agenda today and for setting us off with your excellent issue note.

Germany agrees entirely that if we want to be able to address the complex challenges of the 21st century, our multilateral institutions cannot remain stuck in the past century.

Over three-quarters of today’s countries were not present when the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were created.

I believe that the G20 can and must play a crucial role in this reform process.

Not least because the G20 reformed itself only last year, under India’s guidance. Through the G20’s very first enlargement, the African Union is now where it belongs – here at our table.


As a group, we reflect the geopolitical diversity of today’s world rather well. That makes our work sometimes challenging, as you all know. But if we can identify common ground among ourselves, we can be an engine for change, also in forums like the United Nations.

And that work has already started.

In New York, UN member states are working on the Pact for the Future. “Transforming global governance” will be a central element of this:

Our goal is for the Pact to deliver concrete steps towards the reform of the Security Council, a revitalised General Assembly and ECOSOC, as well as a stronger Peace Building Commission.

Germany is honoured to co-facilitate this process with Namibia. And we therefore want to discuss your proposal to have a G20 ministers’ meeting at UNGA that supports the efforts of the Pact for the Future.

The Pact has the potential to be a booster for multilateralism. That’s why we encourage all partners to become engaged from the start.

Another crucial area of the Pact is the reform of the international financial architecture.

Because “money matters”, especially if we want to tackle the devastating effects of the climate crisis and speed up economic transformation.

All countries want to benefit from the energy transition, but many do not have the money to do so. And the longer it takes to bring down emissions, the more the costs of adapting to the climate crisis will rise, especially for the most vulnerable. Every 18 days, there is a climate-related event with economic costs of over one billion US dollars.

That’s why Germany has been at the forefront of the recent World Bank reform to build a “better and bigger bank”. A bank that is able to address key challenges such as the climate crisis and pandemics. We’re supporting this new focus with up to 305 million euro.

And as the world’s third-largest economy, we’re also lending our strong support to the reform of the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism. I would like to call on partners and friends here: we have a common responsibility for this reform, especially if you’re among the top two biggest economies.

Esteemed colleagues,

I believe that, in addressing our joint challenges, it’s crucial that we respectfully hear each other out, knowing that we have different perspectives. That’s what makes the G20 forum so strong, so effective.

I’m very grateful for the open and frank debate we had yesterday about the situation in the Middle East.

And, Naledi, because you just raised it, I would like to respond to you regarding the International Court of Justice.

Let me be very clear:

Whatever the outcome of these proceedings, Germany will abide by the ruling and will expect others to do the same.

I also want to be very clear when I say that having different legal opinions does not mean that we question the legitimacy of the Court.

On the contrary, we and many others will participate in the proceedings initiated by South Africa and others in order to express our view.

In order to strengthen the rule of law, to strengthen the ICJ. The same holds for the ICC, for proceedings there.

What I believe unites us is our commitment to international law and international institutions, including the courts. That’s why we want to make them stronger.

I appreciate an open debate. But I must say that what we do not appreciate are lies. Mr Lavrov, the truth is that grain cannot leave Odessa because Russia bombed the city’s port.

We have sanctions in place because of serious violations of international law and human rights. If Russian officials are involved in the deportation of children from Ukraine, they can no longer go to Europe to buy luxury clothes for their own children. Or invest money they stole from others to buy apartments in Berlin.

On UNRWA, the US has spent 340 million US dollars. Germany, as the second-biggest donor, has spent 202 million dollars. Russia has spent two million.

These are the facts that you can’t ignore as you’re bombing civilians.

Esteemed colleagues, if we look back at the last few months, it might be easy to get frustrated.

But as international partners, it’s up to us. We can decide to bury our heads in the sand in resignation.

Or we can to try to advance – together. By seeking out concrete, pragmatic steps that take us forward.

We have to make multilateralism work. For everyone.

I want to end on a positive note. What we achieved in Dubai in December was multilateralism at work, for everybody. We came together with different partners from around the world, big and small, joining hands from Latin America, Asia, Africa to the Pacific Island States. To make it clear that we can only fight the climate crisis together.

To make it clear that tackling the climate crisis is also a question of justice. That’s why we set up the Loss and Damage Fund, together.

We’re looking forward to supporting our Brazilian partners in building on that, with a view to COP30 in Brazil.

And we’re looking forward to South Africa’s G20 Presidency.

We have shown what we can do when we work together.

In December, I was in Rwanda at the opening of the BioNTech production plant near Kigali, where up to 50 million doses of mRNA vaccine are to be manufactured every year.

Working together on global health issues is also something where we can show that multilateralism works for everybody if we join hands.


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